Bearnaise sauce is a smooth, creamy, rich sauce flavored with shallots and the herb tarragon. It has many uses, often as an accompaniment to steak or drizzled over vegetables. It also goes well with seafood and eggs. The uses of bearnaise sauce are only limited by your imagination.
The Meat of the Matter
Bearnaise sauce works beautifully with grilled steak. Its creaminess softens the charred character of the meat, and the tarragon and shallots accent the steak's flavor. Serve it drizzled over the top of the steak, or on the side in a small pouring container. Poultry also goes well with bearnaise. The sauce's delicate flavors don't overpower chicken, and tarragon is a natural pairing with poultry.
Fruits of the Sea
As a sauce for fish, bearnaise might be the absolute best choice. It is creamy and light, so it doesn't overwhelm a fish's delicate flavor. The creamy texture works well with both firm and flaky fish. The slightly lemony tarragon subtly enhances the flavor of seafood without taking away from its natural flavor. Along with fish like salmon, bass and halibut, bearnaise sauce also goes well with shellfish, especially lobster, scallops and crab.
Egging It On
Because of its similarities to hollandaise sauce, bearnaise sauce can be used in many of the same ways. One of the well know uses of hollandaise is on eggs Benedict. Bearnaise sauce can be easily substituted. The main difference is that bearnaise has more of a savory quality and lacks the strongly citrus flavor of hollandaise, which can improve or detract from the dish, depending on your personal taste. Bearnaise is delicious with eggs in general, whether fried, scrambled or poached.
Bearnaise sauce can be used in place of hollandaise in any recipe to bring a more savory flavor. Vegetables often served with hollandaise include asparagus, broccoli and zucchini. Drizzle the sauce over them for a tangy, herbal kick.
The Upper Crust
Bearnaise sauce is thick enough to be used as a condiment on sandwiches in place of mayonnaise. It can also be drizzled over open-faced sandwiches. Try it poured over a croque madame, a ham and cheese sandwich topped with an egg. Bearnaise is a delicious addition to any sandwich, but works especially well with roast beef, ham, steak and chicken sandwiches.